Running for Office: Like A Flamewar with a Forum Troll

Cross-posted at Daily Kos, Digg, and Reddit

Progressive Dem Sean Tevis is an Information Architect in Kansas running for the state legislature. He's decided to retire Arlen Siegfreid, his current anti-science, pro-domestic-spying Republican state representative. Sean started with door-knocking and signatures to get on the ballot, and now he's appealing to the netroots for support. He's chronicled his political journey in webcomic format as a fundraising pitch, which drew attention from BoingBoing, Reddit, and Digg.

Progressive geek looking for 3,000 people to help him win Kansas election against dinosauric anti-science/pro-surveillance dude

Sean Tevis is a geeky geek from Kansas who's fed up with his state rep, an anti-abortion, anti-evolution, pro-censorship, pro-surveillance, anti-gay incumbent. Tevis -- an unknown -- is polling within three points of his opponent, and is looking to raise some Internet dough to kick this guy's (extremely tight) ass, and to promote his cause, he's made a fantastic, XKCD-style toon called "It's Like A Flamewar with a Forum Troll, but with an Eventual Winner." Specifically, he's looking to raise $8.34 from 3,000 people (no state rep in Kansas history has ever had more than 644 donors). I'm in. Who's with me?

Sean is actually a Reddit user himself, and it was online activism that partly inspired him to run:

I credit Reddit with getting me pissed off enough to run for State Representative this year. I live in Kansas and had had enough of the Intelligent Design jokes I've seen posted here about my state so I decided to "retire" my current rep - an anti-gay, religion in schools, conservative.

Sean was told he'd need $26,000 to be competitive in this race, and since he's not going to find 50 wealthy donors to give $500 dollars a pop, he's hoping 3,000 people will chip in 8 bucks a piece instead.  He's since shattered the 644-donor record for Kansas state legislature candidates, but he's aiming to reach 3,000 individuals.  He'd be one more strong voice behind Governor Sebelius, but this is also a great opportunity to send "one of our own" in to public service.  Breaking fundraising records is also a guaranteed way to secure some netroots media coverage.

Will you Digg Sean's XKCD comic homage?  The "Digg effect" could help him reach the 3,000 milestone.

And here's the direct link to the "3,000"fundraising comic that's drawn so many donors already.

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I'll donate via Road to 60 when you clean out the trash. [Update x2]

ubsuandus     1
unitydem08    1
vatoboys    1
chancecoke    1
bbclover1      1

Tonight, these five new accounts've TR'ed every single one of my comments from the past month; piling troll-ratings onto old comments is only the latest in a series of flaunting this site's rules by Republican trolls.  Not only have trolls like Rankles, Aliveandkickin, and Engels not been banned, they even have their rec/ratings access intact.  You want political contributions in MyDD's name?  Make the site's banner worth donating under again.  It's long past time to take out the trash.

I'm a proud, wallet-opening Democrat who gives as much as I can as often as I can.  MyDD needs to decide which audience it's really more interested in maintaining -- Democratic contributors like me, or Obama-bashers and Republicans.  Don't ask me to open up my wallet in your name until you start actively undoing this site's devolution into a playground for trolls.

Update: Jerome responds below:

It's easy to throw tomatoes from the crowd. The ratings system is broken, it'll get replaced, don't waste your time with it.

I look forward to that, and thank ct for his work in implementing it when it happens. But this is more about your recent willingness to let trolls run rampant on this site at the expense of your long-time Democratic readership. If you were even half as "duly diligent" in dealing with today's post-primary trolls as you were in dealing with what you considered primary season's overzealous Obama supporters, things'd be quite different here.

You'd also do well to remember that the "tomato-throwing crowd" are the same folks you're asking to lend you fundraising credibility via an ActBlue donation in MyDD's name. Four, three, two years -- even a year ago -- I'dve contributed to a MyDD-branded fundraising effort without a second thought. Something's clearly changed, and you need to clean up your brand if you're wanting to use it for fundraising purposes.

Update 2: Jerome stopped in to mojo this comment:

Grow up and get over it Please. Of all things. This diary beats PUMA for being silly, pointless and vain.

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Stage 3: Bargaining ("It's a tie!")

There's a diary on the Rec List currently titled "It's a tie." Again, recall the Kübler-Ross cycle's Five Stages of Grief:

Stage 3: Bargaining

After the fires of anger have been blow out, the next stage is a desperate round of bargaining, seeking ways to avoid having the bad thing happen. Bargaining is thus a vain expression of hope that the bad news is reversible.

Sometimes the best you can do at this stage is point even more at the inevitable, even though this may well tip them into depression (which may well be a necessary move).  When they are in a bargaining mood, sometimes there are things you can offer them, such as support for change or new opportunities.


Yesterday, Hillary's campaign used every tactic possible to steal Obama's spotlight on one of the most historic nights our party has ever seen.  The media is pushing their "Dream Team," suggesting that Hillary's refusal to concede is an attempt at maintaining some type of political leverage.  All these attempts at post-game leverage (including "it's a tie!") are obvious forms of bargaining.

Just move ahead and leave it be.  In the words of Monty Python:

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Hillary's 'CIC Threshold' in new GOP attack ad

The Republicans just created a YouTube profile called "DemsonObama" and released a new piece which is composed entirely of words from Senator Hillary Clinton.

Hours before the polls closed Tuesday in the final two Democratic presidential primaries, the Republican National Committee began circulating a video of Hillary Clinton questioning Barack Obama's qualifications to be commander-in-chief, and acknowledging John McCain has this important presidential credential.

An RNC official tells CNN to expect to see more of Republicans highlighting Clinton's critical comments of Obama as the campaign now turns to the general election phase.

"We will use it repeatedly," the official said.

The media and pundits are pushing for their "Dream Team" ticket with Hillary as Obama's vice president, but that strategy is severely flawed.  We need a ticket wherein the two candidates strengthen and compliment -- not undercut -- one another.  If Hillary's on the ticket, how can she reconcile her past McCain advocacy (which the Republicans intend to invoke repeatedly) and anti-Obama attacks?

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"no unity with cult and idiots"

The user who wrote this (and many other comments like it) hasn't been banned and still has rec/ratings access after a month of this trolling, FYI.

It's time to clean house at MyDD.  I'll leave if these trolls aren't banned soon after primary season is over.

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Attn: Obama supporters (mojo party).

I appreciate the support, but this is just a meta diary. PLEASE UN-REC THIS DIARY AND REC THESE EXCELLENT DIARIES INSTEAD:

The math: Obama has the better GE viability by TCQuad

Chairman of the TDP Endorses Obama by nklein

I think it's great that there're still enough of us to compete on the Rec List, but TCQuad and Nklein put far more effort into their diaries than I did for this one.

To preface:  I totally support Jerome revoking the ratings access of those who hide-rated (0-rated) Alegre's recent "is this snark, serious question" line.  If you zero-rated that remark, you undeniably violated the Trusted User guidelines.  Now I don't think he was right revoking the access of those who simply down-rated (1-rated) the comment, but what's done is done.

Yes, certain Clinton supporters (assuming they're genuine Clinton supporters) are getting away with outlandish ratings abuse, personal attacks ("cultists"/"boyz"), and McCain advocacy right now.  Yes, the application of these ratings suspensions appears a bit capricious, uneven, and generally lacking in due diligence when it comes to policing.  Adapt and deal with it, but don't throw your ratings access down the drain with stupid, futile gestures of frustration. If you must, just avoid rating anything contentious until the primaries're over (which they almost are).

Things'll improve dramatically once the nomination is settled (in t-minus five days), but I'm betting this site'll need all the janitors it can manage to sweep out the trolling that follows.  You think the McCain advocacy popping up now is bad?  Imagine how it'll be once Republicans come a-courtin' for disgruntled Hillary supporters.  Remember, McCain is already directing his supporters to start astroturfing progressive web sites.

That said, could Obama supporters who still have their ratings/rec access sound off in the comments?  I'm not sure who all got tazed in the most recent purge of privileges, and I'd like to share some mojo with those who remain.

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So, that 'Pyro' troll was banned (ratings privileges).

It's good that the blatant Republican troll who spammed nothing but copy-pastes of Obama religion/family smear emails yesterday was banned.  Their comments occupied the entire first page of the Hidden Comments section, and I'm glad to see they were all deleted.  They were disgusting.

Contrary to current popular belief among Obama supporters, I don't consider MyDD an unfair forum for expression.  I've been here since the 2004 primaries, and still prefer MyDD to Daily Kos despite being an Obama supporter (indeed, those who consider Markos Moulitsas the new leader of the "Obamasphere" clearly don't remember the Daily Kos' own anti-Obama streak while John Edwards was still in the race).  Jerome's current biases don't overshadow the fairness of the other front-pagers, and pro-Obama diaries still make the rec list regularly (and while you still have to compete for the slot, it's no more difficult than making Kos' rec list while Edwards was still in).

But if Pyro's comments were disgusting enough to warrant a ban and deletion, why does the MyDD user who ran around uprating all of them yesterday still have ratings/rec access?  I won't call them out by name, but they're easy to spot.  Find any random personal attack against an Obama supporter in the Hidden Comments section and you're almost guaranteed to find their name next to a "2" uprating.

After seeing someone get away scratch-free after repeatedly uprating a banned right-wing email copy-pasting troll yesterday, I'm starting to wonder if it's much easier for Obama supporters to lose their rec/ratings access nowadays than Clinton supporters.  And I'm an older MyDD user who wasn't previously sympathetic to such suspicions. It's starting to feel as if every Obama supporter's privileges are hanging by a thread, while Clinton supporters' abuses have to be extensively documented and prosecuted via email.

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Ironic Rec List Ordering

Some coincidences're too cute to pass up without noting.

Made me smile.

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Tired of it: Cultist/Messiah/Kool Aid/Obamabot

I'm not a member of a cult, I'm an Episcopalian.  Referring to me as a "cultist" is a blatant attack, and I'm tired of it.

I don't consider Barack Obama my Messiah.  That's Christ's role, and accusing me of believing otherwise is an extremely offensive attack no matter how cute you think it sounds, and I'm tired of it.

The Peoples' Temple of Jim Jones murdered over 900 people, including Democrat Leo Ryan, the only Congressman in United States history to have been killed in the line of duty.  The "Kool Aid" line is a much sicker attack than you realize, and I'm tired of it.

Obama supporters are not all "boyz," no more than Clinton supporters are all "girlz." I'm also not sure whether this "boyz" thing is meant to carry primarily age, gender, or racial connotations -- but it reeks of carrying all three. I'm tired of it.

I'm not a robot or an automaton.  I support my candidate over yours, but would support either in the general election.  That's no excuse to refer to me or any other Obama supporter as an "Obama-bot" or "Obama-ton." It's a personal attack, and I'm tired of it.

These're the lines I'd expect from Republicans against Democrats in the general election, not from Democrats during our primary season.  Just so we're clear:  If you use these lines, I'm hide-rating you for attacking other users.  If you uprate any of these attacks, I'll report you for abuse of your Trusted User status.  These're all totally uncalled for, and've become far too commonplace in this Democratic community.  I'm tired of it.

Update: I would never refer to Hillary supporters as "Hillbots,""cultists," nor any other derivatives of the disgusting memes the Clintons were painted with in the 90s. I will refer to you by your username or as a supporter of your candidate, and ask that same courtesy in return.

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